Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Author Interview: Lisa Mantchev

Lisa Mantchev's debut novel, Eyes Like Stars, is the first installment in a new YA fantasy series, The Théâtre Illuminata Trilogy. She's published numerous short stories. She lives with her husband, daughter and four hairy miscreant dogs on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. Eyes Like Stars is in stores today!

What inspired you to create the character Beatrice from Eyes Like Stars? Do any of Beatrice’s characteristics or qualities relate to your own?
The name "Beatrice Shakespeare Smith" landed in my head one day and stuck there. In the original (short story) draft, Bertie was younger, maybe twelve or thirteen. In that version, she had my sass-mouth. Then when I expanded the short story into a novel, she aged to seventeen, acquired my coffee habit, and my fondness for crazy hair dye.

How much research went into the creation of ELS?
I didn't research before I started to write it.. I have a BA in Drama, and picked the theater setting specifically so I'd feel comfortable in my writerly surroundings. I'm also more a spot-researcher, as in "this very second, I need a quote from The Tempest" and I leap onto the internet to get what I need. Makes it a bit tricky on days when my wireless is sputtery!

How did you come up with the title?
ELS started life as the aforementioned short story, which was titled "All Her World's A Stage." Then it became the novel we sent out on submission under the title Scrimshaw. Feiwel & Friends worried that was too sailing-centric, though, so I began combing Shakespearean quotes for something grabby... that's when I chanced upon the line from Hamlet, and I knew instantly I wanted to use that, as it ties thematically into Bertie's play about how she came to live at the theater.

When you write, do you always know where you are going, or do your characters lead you in their own directions?
I always start with an outline. Inevitably, the draft wanders away from the outline, because I discover a lot of things as I go. Sometimes the words are just plod, plod, plodding along, and then I spot a shiny idea a few miles away and chase after it.

Which means I end up revising and rewriting. A lot. The earliest version of the novel had the theater closing down, and Bertie to be cast out for that reason, which can give you a sense of just how much things can change during the editing process.

Who’s your favorite character in ELS?
That varies by the day. When I'm having a difficult writing day, the fairies are the easiest (and most fun) to write... their dialogue just pours out of me, and they bring terrific energy to everything they do.

Who would you say are your foremost literary influences, and could you tell us what you are reading right now?
For influences, I'd name Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Patricia Mckillip, Lewis Carroll, L.M. Montgomery... Right now, I'm in the middle of The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, which is fabulous.

What can we look forward to reading about Beatrice’s future adventures?
Bertie still has a lot to learn about where she comes from, and who she is. Of course, the fairies will be along for that journey. There will always be dessert and great costuming. (Can't say much more than that without getting plot-spoilery!)

What’s the craziest or funniest thing that has happened to you in promoting ELS?
I love costuming, and, just like Bertie, I usually end up in a corset. Last year at WorldCon (Denver) I got to be XCentricities Corset's unofficial spokesmodel. My favorite was the white dupioni silk that I wore over a vintage kimono.

Is there any additional information that you would like to add?
If you happen to be in the Seattle area, I'll have a reading and signing at the University Bookstory on July 16th at 7 pm. I'll also be hostessing an "Opening Night" Twitter Launch Party, details forthcoming!


Thanks Lisa!

For more information about Lisa Mantchev and Eyes Like Stars, please visit her website here.

49 comments :

  1. Great interview! The cover of this book is just gorgeous, and I can't wait to read it. Unfortunetly the fiance has banned me from buying any more books...says that my over 500 tbr is too much (huh?), lol. Anywho, so I have just been entering contests, and if I win I win..and then I just tell him, "Oh I never thought I'd actually win!" haha.

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  2. Great interview! I love the whole theater setting. The cover art is too sweet, I love the look of Beatrice and the tiny fairies.

    Did you get to input on what the cover art would be? It is spectacular!

    I can't wait to see where this story goes.

    Dottie :)

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  3. Great interview - I love finding out how titles and characters grew to the finished product - gives great background fodder when actually reading the book!

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  4. Great interview! I love theater - gotta love costuming though :P My drama club was doing a Shakespeare/England booth at an event and all the girls were in like corsets - we got some prety funny looks

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  5. Nice interview! I love the name Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, and I think it's funny how it just popped into her head.

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  6. This is a nice to review to let readers know how much effort is put into this book. I really want to read this book now. :D

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  7. I didn't know this was going to be a short story, and that it evolved into this great book!

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  8. Hmm. Very interesting interview about the backstory on ELS and how it morphed from a short story to a full length novel with a protagonist who was first preteen to teen.

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  9. Very cool interview, what a name to get stuck in your head right?

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  10. Wonderful interview. The cover is breathtaking!

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  11. Great Interview!! I Love The Cover To This Book. And I Love Fairies!! Lisa Seems So Cool And Down To Earth...

    xoxo
    RagDollVampGirl

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  12. I've always wondered what it would feel like to wear a corset...! The cover of the book is absolutely amazing and I love Shakespeare, so obviously this is a must read!

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  13. Loved the interview. I'm always interested in what authors themselves are reading, so it was a delight to see that Lisa reads many of the same books I do. I'll have to take the ones I've never heard of as good advice! I'm definitely looking forward to the book...thanks for sharing with us!

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  14. Fabulous interview. I don't know how well I would do if I was interviewing someone! I think I wouldn't ask "good" questions, but you sure did! I envy you! LOL.

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  15. Nice interview!
    I am so jealous.

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  16. Thanks for the interview. It's funny how you started out with an outline and a different ending.The story just evolved into this fantastic book. Can't wait to read future books.

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  17. It's always great to have a behind the scenes peek as to how an author came to write her novel. Thanks!

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  18. I'm a real Shakespeare buff, so this book sounds right up my alley. And I like that Lisa promises further installments in the series will have great costuming and dessert---two of my favorite things! Can't wait to read it!

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  19. I want to read this book and am happy Lisa decided to get a BA in Drama cause Eyes like Stars looks phenomenal.

    Seahn

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  20. great interview and I absolutely love this cover and the title is great too.

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  21. Neil Gaiman seems to be a constant favorite among YA authors (based from the interviews I've read). Haven't read anything by him, though. Great interview, by the way. :)

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  22. Great and interesting interview, I didn't know much about the book before, but now I got a great picture of it! Thanks :)

    sara

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  23. Great interview! I had no idea this was a series..how exciting!

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  24. I like how she came up with the title. :)

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  25. Fantasy is a genre I so love to read now. Once I started them, I love to get into the world of those stories. Your world with the fairies is unique! And the hair and color I love on that cover!

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  26. Great interview! I always love to learn an author's process for writing a book.

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  27. I love how she came up with the title. I absolutely love theatre! I can't wait to read this book. :)

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  28. Fabulous interview, and I must say I just HAD to check out the Xcentricities Corsets! Very cool!

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  29. Great interview. As always very interesting. Thanks!

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  30. Great interview. I love the setting and am looking forward to adding this to my TBR pile.

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  31. My daughter is so excited about this book. :) Thank you for the interview.

    M

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  32. Oh wow, dressing up to promote the book sounds like a ton of fun! A spot-researcher... hmm...

    Anyway, great interview! =)

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  33. Very interesting to hear about how it moved from a short story to a book!

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  34. I really love all the influences of Shakespeare in her names and titles. They lend such a beautiful, interesting element to what I am sure is going to be a great story!

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  35. i love the cover.Great Interview.
    elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

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  36. Great interview! I've heard so many good reviews on this book and I'm attracted to the cover :)

    bunnybx at gmail .com

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  37. I enjoyed the interview - I wish I had seen a photo of the author in the Kimono.
    The cover of the book is just beautiful!

    libnes[at]aol[dot]com

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  38. Great interview (& I love the cover too!). And the name "Beatrice Shakespeare Smith" is so original as is the nickname of "Bertie".

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  39. It's interesting how many authors give their characters traits that they have, isn't it?

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  40. Very nice interview. Her book sounds very good!

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  41. Great interview. I love the cover on the book. And can't wait to read it.

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  42. I like costuming too. It's fun to be someone else for a little bit.

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  43. wonderful interview. cant wait to get my hands on this book.

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  44. I love the corset over a kimono look. It must have been beautiful.

    Valorie
    morbidromantic@gmail.com

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  45. Great interview this book sounds amazing!

    ~Mariah

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  46. Nice interview! This book sounds great, I love the theater setting (being a struggling actress myself lol).

    MovieMomma@gmail.com

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  47. Terrific interview. Such an original idea and that is an awesome cover. Haha, I can't imagine wearing a corset. lol.

    ~Briana

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  48. Great interview, and I'm happy to see Lisa's research style is much like mine: must know it now! :^)

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  49. A really nice interview, very illuminating! As soon as I saw the cover I knew I had to read it!!

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